Europeans drag feet on tackling climate change

A dry reservoir bed is seen at Kouris dam in Limassol district, Cyprus, November 9, 2007. REUTERS/Andreas Manolis

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A clear majority of Europeans see climate change as one of the most serious challenges facing the world, but have not changed their personal behavior to tackle it, a poll showed on Thursday.

Four in 10 complained about a lack of information on what they should be doing, while over three-quarters considered that industry was not pulling its weight.

“There is a clear gap between what citizens are saying and what they are doing on climate change,” EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said of the results of the EU survey of more than 30,000 citizens across some 30 countries.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents said climate change was, along with poverty, one of the two most serious problems facing the world today. Thirty-one percent said they had done nothing to combat it, with 61 percent saying they had.

“However, the types of action taken mainly involve little personal or financial effort such as separating waste or reducing consumption of energy, water or throw-away products,” the survey concluded.

The 27-nation EU sees itself in the vanguard of efforts to tackle climate change, and is pushing for a global agreement on tough new measures on emissions of greenhouse gases and other action to succeed the existing Kyoto accord.

EU leaders agreed last year on 2020 targets of cutting the bloc’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 percent below 1990 levels and an increase in the share of renewable energy to 20 percent of the total.

Reporting by Mark John; editing by Elizabeth Piper